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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1838: June 6, 1903

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June 6, 1903. RECORD AND GUIDE 1113 ^Uanfess Alio Themes of GeiJer^. iKtEflFST; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS 'Pablisfied eVery Satardas Communications sbould ba addresBed to C. "W. SWEET. 14-16 Vesey Street, New YorE U T. LINDSEY, Business Manager Telephone, Cortlandt 3167 "Entered at tht Fost Office at New Tork. N, Y., as second-class matter." Vol. LXXI. JUNE 6, 1903. No. 1838, TXT ITH the stocks o£ the best established and best man- ^ ^ aged railroads in the United States selling on a 414 to 5 per cent- basis it is probable that the great majority of con¬ servative business men would consider that the capitalist who can afford to buy and hold snch securities would make money. But nevertheless it remains true that prices continue to diminish and that the rallies which take place are merely the signal and excuse for further liquidation- The man who believes in higher prices is in very much the same position as the man who be¬ lieved in lower prices a .year ago. Stocks at that time were undoubtedly selling too high; but they were so strongly held at those high prices that it took a courageous man and a long purse to go short. In the same way, in view of the constant liquidation and the increasing uncertainty about the course of business and the crops, a man requires great confidence in long views to buy stocks at the present time. No matter how much he may believe that they are cheap, he will be tempted to believe that perhaps they will be cheaper still a month from now; and this belief will probably prove to be well grounded- A period of readjustment is taking place, which will last for a long time still and which may reveal unexpected weaknesses in the fabric of American industry- How much of the economic construction of the past four years will survive a period of hard times? What will be the effect in ease of a vigorous enforce¬ ment of the anti-trust law? 'Will railway earnings shrink as much proportionally when they get upon the downward grade as they did in 1893? It will take some time to answer these questions conclusively, and while they remain unanswered prices will remain out of harmony with values. There is indeed every reason to believe that the great railroad and industrial corpora¬ tions wili show very much greater reserve strength under dis¬ couraging conditions than they did ten years ago; but this opinion, like the others, has its doubtful aspects. It is a time when people who buy stocks must be willing to take a long chance and should be prepared to protect their purchases. T T looks now as if the practical suspension of building opera- ■*■ tions which the lockout of the material drivers has occasioned would soon be at an end. The Building Trades Council is obviously backing down in the support which it gave to the demands of the drivers; and unless something happens to stiffen the backs of the men the whole incident will soon be closed. An early termination of the fight would be received with the utmost relief hy the whole building and real estate Interest If it had lasted all summer many builders who are financing their operations with a comparatively'small margin of cash would have been wiped out, and all of them would have suffered severely. At the same time the delay in the completion of many tenements and apartment houses now under construc¬ tion could not but have the result of creating a partial house famine next spring and of forcing many residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn to seek living accommodations on Long Island or in New Jersey- There has rarely been a time in this city when the general interests of real property in New York so im¬ peratively demanded the utmost exertion on the part of builders to provide for an actual and prospective need for new house room. While all this is true, however, the Employers' Associa¬ tion have behaved wisely in drawing the issue very sharply at the present time and not abating any of their demands iintil the Building Trades Council backed down. By this resolute action they have apparently won the first skirmish, and that should encourage them in the belief that they have only to persist in their present methods in order to regain control ot their own business. Perhaps the Building Trades Council be¬ lieves that as soon as the present crisis is over the Employers' Association ^will fall apart; but if they are counting on such a consummation they are very much mistaken. The employers realize fully that the flght is a permanent one and that they will have to win back inch by inch the ground which they have lost. The platform which the Employers' Association adopted during the past week sums up clearly and concisely the concessions which must be obtained in order that its members may "lawfully prosecute their business without unnecessary interruption, financial loss or humiliation." They protest particularly against sympathetic strikes, against extortion and bribery, and against tlie confused jurisdiction of the different trades, which has occa¬ sioned so many unnecessary and exasperating strikes. At the same time they propose to establish courts of arbitration in which this moderate platform can be placed before the fair- minded and intelligent among their employes. There can be no doubt that if they stick to their present methods they will in the long run win out. T P in the beginning the Real Estate Association of New York ■^ does not find itself supported by any very large number of small property owners its officials should not be discouraged by that fact. A thoroughly representative organization of an interest which has for years been insufficiently organized can¬ not be built up in a few months. The Real Estate Association is not in the position of an ordinary trade association. The people owning real property in New'York belong to widely dif¬ ferent classes in the community. The oniy part of them, whose every-day interests and occupations bring them together, are the professional operators and speculators, and they form only a small faction of the whole. The consequence is that any or¬ ganization which seeks to represent them can only gradually win its way into the favor of the property owners. Before it obtains support it must prove itself to be deserving of support. It must show in some emphatic and striking way that it is able and willing to perform for the real estate interests good service. Of course such a service cannot be performed until the oppor¬ tunity arises; and in the meantime the best that can be done is to start the organization in the right way and direction. The circular letter recently issued by the association should be a help in this respect; and in starting the formation of a paid bureau, where services will be devoted to the -work of the association, its offlcials have taken precisely the proper step. An organization of this kind, which is not alive exeept when its directors or members are in session, can never be a very considerable or efficient public force. In order to make people recognize its existence, and in order to give its work continuity, a permanent bureau must be provided, to which the members will be encouraged to come and where officials will be engaged constantly in serving real estate interests- Indeed, we are will¬ ing to go so far as to assert that the success of the association will depend as much upon the policy and efficiency of its paid bureau as upon the resolutions and actions of its governing board- It should be the function of that bureau to collect all kinds of information necessary to members of the association, and at times to represent them in bringing pressure to bear upon city officials who are negligent about offlcial duties and public improvements. Whether a really valuable bureau can be estab¬ lished by an association whose dues are no more than $5 a year remains to be seen. It was, perhaps, wise to make the initial charges small; but we doubt very much whether tbe work of the bureau, provided it is properly developed, will not eventually require a larger contribution- A membership which costs only $5 per annum will probably not be worth any more than that sum; and a membership in the Real Estate Association of New York should be worth more than $5 a year each to the property owners of the city- -----------•----------- THE UNITED STATES is a very wealthy country; but we doubt whether it is wealthy enough to engage in another great war. The expenses of the -war itself could he paid and would be paid with sufficient ease; but if the Spanish war is any criterion, the drain upon the country's resources for pensions after the war was over would be disastrous. Up to the present time some 22 per cent, of the soldiers enlisted in the. American army during the Spanish war have applied for pensions, and this 22 per cent, is equivalent to some 65,000 applications. Con¬ sidering that at the outside only about 25,000 soldiers and sailors saw active service, it will be realized what a small part of the dangers of w^ar are incurred on the battlefield- Of course, we all know that the health of the troops in camp was distressingly bad; but after making all such allowances the number of ap¬ plications lor government assistance is ao large that it can be explained only on the ground that very considerable numbers of "patriots" are taking advantage of the lax pension laws in order to obtain government money, "which they do not nee'Jl. It is curious that a nation of thrifty people will permit itself to be bled- ijj this -manner. The truth is that Americans are